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Balancing growth and innovation in Indian biotech firms

Shaista E. Khilji (The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA)
Tomasz Mroczkowski (American University, Washington, DC, USA)
Rashmi Assudani (Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)

South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

ISSN: 2045-4457

Article publication date: 17 August 2012




Biotech companies are generally faced with the paradoxes of simultaneously managing growth and innovation, as well as addressing explorative and exploitative aspects of innovation. Scholars have urged them to re‐evaluate their business model. The purpose of this paper is to explore how biotech companies in emerging economies address these paradoxes, focusing upon the nascent biotech industry in India, in order to investigate their growth and innovation patterns, as well as identify the challenges that they may face.


A qualitative data collection, using in‐depth interviews with representatives of organizations that deal directly with improving the quality of the business environment for biotech industry in India, as well as biotech entrepreneurs and leaders were undertaken. A total of 13 interviews provided insights related to innovation and growth that is discussed in the paper.


Data indicate that Indian biotech companies are ambidextrous and have managed to transcend the aforementioned paradoxes by developing and maintaining distinct organizational capabilities. They were found to pursue an integrated model of efficiency and innovation and utilize both exploitative and explorative aspects of innovation to fuel growth and innovation. The authors also found evidence of some of the characteristics of the “India Way”, proposed by Cappelli et al.

Research limitations/implications

The authors conclude that Indian companies offer an opportunity for learning for American biotech companies with respect to building new competencies and balancing growth and innovation in today's competitive environment.


Despite being labeled as the “industry of the decade”, biotechnology has been neglected in technology and innovation literature. It is hoped that the paper's findings will generate interest in the study of biotech industries in emerging economies, to help scholars develop interesting new theoretical models of innovation and aid managers in coping with the innovation and change paradoxes that they are faced with in developing new products and services.



Khilji, S.E., Mroczkowski, T. and Assudani, R. (2012), "Balancing growth and innovation in Indian biotech firms", South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 256-275.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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